From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views :
In Chapter 10 of his new book Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis, Michael Denton argues for the proposition that language and the higher intellectual faculties — the gifts that uniquely make us human — arose by saltation. In other words, they are gifts — sudden ones. Denton’s view, as he makes clear, has precedents reaching from Alfred Russel Wallace to linguist Noam Chomsky.
In a nice coincidence, Chomsky and MIT colleague Robert C. Berwick are just out with a book of their own, from MIT Press, provocatively titled Why Only Us: Language and Evolution. To be sure, Chomsky and Berwick are not advocates of Denton’s structuralist take on the theory of intelligent design. Still, their own argument for language by saltation is not hard to reconcile with Denton’s view.
The recognition that language poses a problem for Darwinian gradualism is presumably what makes linguist Vyvyan Evans uneasy about the book, which Dr. Evans reviews in New Scientist: More.
Klinghoffer details the problems Evans faces trying to balance a red-hot issue. On the one hand, humans are just big-brained apes; on the other hand, efforts to describe ape communications as equivalent to those of humans are pathetic, and any serious research would require acknowledging that fact.
See also: Can we talk? Language as the business end of consciousness
Furry, feathery, and finny animals speak their minds
Follow UD News at Twitter!